Union minister Smriti Irani today dismissed claims that the BJP has political understanding with the ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal, saying if that was so, police would not have filed cases against state BJP chief Dilip Ghosh. “Cases were filed against the state BJP president and party workers were beaten up,” she said here.
On attacks on BJP workers, Irani said, “The BJP’s struggle in Bengal is not something new. I respect the efforts of our BJP workers here. The whole country is witnessing how the lotus is blooming in the state.” “As a Cabinet minister I have a Constitutional propriety and I cannot comment much on this. Law and order is a state subject. But, the Constitution has also said that there cannot be misuse of laws for any political reason,” she said.
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On the TMC’s allegation that the BJP is targeting some of their leaders in Narada and Saradha cases, she said, “I will only say that the courts and investigating agencies will ensure that justice is done.” Irani also refuted the TMC’s allegation that the BJP is trying to gain political mileage out of Narada and Saradha cases and said it is like the Hindi proverb ‘ulta chor kotowal ko daatein’.
Commenting on the BJP’s improved performance in the recent Kanthi Dakshin Assembly bypoll, she said it is indicative of the party’s surge in West Bengal and the “waning popularity” of the Trinamool Congress and other parties. “You cannot take the people of Bengal for granted anymore. Our success in Kanthi Dakshin bypoll is indicative of the people’s mind. It is indicative of the waning popularity of the TMC and other political parties,” Irani said.
The BJP increased its vote share by more than three times in the bypoll and emerged as the main challenger of the TMC. The Left and the Congress candidates were relegated to third and fourth positions respectively.
On reports that the state BJP leadership has decided not to invite its central leaders who are “soft” on Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Irani said, “I don’t think so”. “Our party is aiming to take the country forward. If any regional party is trying to create hindrance in that, the people of the country will vote them out. Our only desire is to serve the people of Bengal who deserve a better tomorrow,” she said.